Waco siege led many Americans to distrust FBI

Andrew Williams, of Washington, DC holds up a sign depicting the scene at the Brach Davidian compound in Waco, Texas during a rally at the FBI Building in Washington 19 April. The rally was in remembrance of the Branch Davidians killed in a fire in 1993 during a seige by Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents.AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)

It was 25 years ago today we saw the deadly ending to a government standoff with a religious cult just outside Waco. Some 75 Branch Davidians died when their compound called Mount Carmel burned.

ABC's Jim Ryan reported from the scene -- from day one -- in February of 1993.

"From there it was 51 days of waiting out this whole situation, wondering what was going to happen next."

Ryan says the siege made many Americans distrust the ATF and even Attorney General Janet Reno.

"I think some of those scars still remain; some of the cynicism among Americans about the people who are supposed to be protecting them."

Two years later Timothy McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City in response to the Waco siege.

Baylor professor Bill Pitts says the Branch Davidians did spur changes for the ATF.

"I think it's important to note there's not been anything comparable to it since that time and I think that's a good sign."

Ryan says Waco is different now, too.

"A Brand new stadium for the Baylor Bears, where they play football; you have this home improvement show on TV where this couple on the show has brought a new image to Waco."

 The FBI says it didn't start the fire at Mount Carmel and it didn't fire a shot on that deadly final day.

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